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101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures [Paperback]

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Item description for 101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures by John Nunn...

One of the world's finest writers on chess presents his selection of brilliant modern games of 25 moves or fewer. Much can be learned from these sparkling miniatures. John Nunn examines both how the loser might have avoided disaster, and explains how the winner managed to punch home his advantage so effectively. An innovative format, with three diagrams per page, enables the book to be read without a chess set, making it ideal for readers looking for an entertaining book to dip into.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.28" Width: 5.77" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.56 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2000
Publisher   Gambit Publications
ISBN  1901983161  
ISBN13  9781901983166  

Availability  0 units.

More About John Nunn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! In their desire to preserve as much of the communityA[a¬a[s history as possible, authors John Nunn and Judith Nunn Alley searched for people across the country with family ties to Galax. Those who have willingly made their family photo albums available share in the act of preserving the history of this beautiful little town in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.

John Nunn was born in 1955.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > Board Games > Chess
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > General

Reviews - What do customers think about 101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures?

Judgment error in page layouts, weak diagram captions.  Sep 8, 2005
John Nunn at his best is better than most chess writers at their best. I agree with most of the praise for this book and other Nunn books. And yes Gambit is a premier publisher of chess books, no doubt. Yet this particular book has several aggravating avoidable flaws in the way it was physically produced.

[1a] In large paragraph blocks the move notations are intermixed among annotations, variations, and general text. Their only distinguishing feature is that the live moves are bolded. However, in implementation this turned out to be a rather subtle cue for the human eye. Next time Gambit should find a font that provides a more stark contrast between bold and not-bold.

[1b] For this format of embedding live moves among variations, Figurine notation is simply a poor choice. The little piece images have no differences between their bold and not-bold versions, whereas capital letters do. The choice of Figurine notation worsens the problem described in 1a. Maybe a solution could be to use White icons for variations and analyses, but Black icons for live moves, to achieve more contrast?

[2] Every game consumes 1 or 2 pages. The games are in no particular sequence. If all the 2 page games had been printed toward the front of the book, then all games could have been viewed in their entirety without needing to flip between pages. Early on the book intermixes 1 and 2 page games. The unpleasant and unsurprising result is that around game 12 we encounter a game that can be viewed only by flipping back and forth between pages, a hassle. Of course from their the problem intermittantly runs on for several games.

[3] The back of the book boasts that the reader can enjoy the book even when no board and pieces are available. This goal would have been better achieved if the diagram captions had described the moves with a better notation format. A caption like "After 24. Rxh8!+" does Not enable me to fully judge the supposedly exceptional move. It often matters a whole lot from which square the moved piece originated. And it matters a whole lot the type of piece that was taken. The book would have been better for its customers if Gambit had captioned more informatively with "After 24. Rh1:Bh8!+" (or at least "Before 24. Rxh8!+" if notation orthodoxy must override usability issues). I often have to scan backward through the paragraphs searching for the previous moves to discover the missing info, far too tedious. Gambit claims the reader does not need a board and pieces. That claim would be more valid if better notation had been used in the captions (and there is plenty of extra unused room in their captions.

Otherwise the book delivers well on what it claims to provide.
Nunn does miniatures!  Dec 16, 2003
I have always had a soft spot for this topic ... I have built entire web pages - and even web sites - dedicated to great, short games of chess. So I was very happy to see that a player of Nunn's stature do a book on this fun and instructive topic.

I don't know what motivated Nunn to write this book, but I am very thankful he did. He took his database, and decided (properly) that a miniature was any game that lasted only 25 moves. (or less) "To my horror, there were over 65,000 such games." - GM John Nunn. In order to get this down to a more manageable number, he decided to further limit the games to those where both players were rated at least 2500 (Elo) or better. This got the number down to around 1,300 games. Nunn then played through all of these and whittled the number down to about 120 games. [From the period 1971 to 1999.] (He knew that some games would be eliminated once they were subjected to thorough analysis. The publisher had already given the mandate of only 101 games for the final version of the book for publication.)

I would have liked to see more detailed analysis, maybe some opening stuff and more commentary ... but Nunn notes the format of the work placed great restrictions on the amount of space. (Although we wonder why some games deserve five pages of analysis, and others only get one!)

But in the end, we are presented with 101 great games of chess. Some of these are true masterpieces, I doubt (very much) that the average player has seen more than a handful of these games prior to studying this volume.

Now the $64 question is: Is this book any good? And ... "Will it help me get better?"
I think the answer to both questions is a resounding YES!!! Chess is a primarily about tactics. And the emphasis here is definitely on the "hand-to-hand" aspect of chess. Chess is also about surviving the opening and eliminating mistakes, and a careful study of this book will also help you achieve this goal as well. And to be really successful, your chess study should also be fun, and I think this book meets this criterion as well. I give this book my HIGHEST recommendation!!

There are a few shortcomings to this book. A couple of the examples are turkeys, and probably should not have been included ... they are definite lumps of coal in the presence of diamonds. A couple of the games are more curiosities and opening traps than they are real games of chess. (I.e., # 92. H. Spangenberg - V. Tkachiev; BLACK wins in only 12 moves.) But much of this is really a matter of taste too.

A real oversight is the lack of any index. How many times did Kramnik make this collection? (Three times, that I can see.) How many times was the Najdorf Sicilian played? (Four times out of the first ten.) How many times did Tal score a touchdown? (More than once.)

It would have also been nice to see a list of groupings like: "The best win(s) in under 15 moves, the best Sicilians," etc. It would have been nice to know what the sources were for some of the annotations. (Mostly they came from the Informants, I imagine.)

But in the end, this is a great little book. Its fun and it is filled with really scintillating tactics. If you don't enjoy this book - you should consider giving up chess!

Dr Nunn strikes again  Nov 11, 2000
An excellent and entertaining selection of some of the best games of the last 30 years or so. Some of the games are so complex that a couple of pages of notes do not do them jusice. However, our author always tries to pinpoint the major variations and that point in the game when the game was lost. You'll be delighted with this book, I have no doubt.
Habit of Excellence  Apr 14, 2000
Superb is not enough! Nunn has a habit of producing excellent chess books. Add 101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures to Nunn's list of well annotated, edited, researched, and written books.

These 101 decisive games were culled from over 65,000 games of twenty five moves or less between chess players of at least 2500 Elo. All of the games are post 1970 with many from the late 1990s.

Entertainment and instruction are seamlessly woven together in 101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures. Play through the classic, Tal-Uhlmann, Moscow 1971. Enjoy the virtuoso performance in Topalov-Ivanchuk, Linares 1999. The annotations and comments to all the games are top notch.

Buy this book now! If you are a tournament player, you'll win more games. If you just love chess, you'll fall in love all over again!


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